Not content with inflicting Nicky Watson on us, AGAIN. Not content with spending nearly seven minutes discussing a missing dog (species unknown or at least, misspelt). Not content with airing Cricket is a Horse, TV One, it turns out, dumped this story in favour of Nicky Watson wandering the beach community of Matarangi.

That’s right – C-grade celeb’s missing dog outranks child health.

To quote:

The Paediatrics Society report, Monitoring the Health of New Zealand Children and Young People – Indicator Handbook came out on 26 November. It makes it crystal clear that being at the bottom of the heap for health is very closely linked with being at the bottom of the heap for family income.

The story goes on:

As we’ve known for two centuries, poor children have poor health. Parts of the report read like something out of Dickens.

“The associations between substandard housing and poor health have been known for several centuries, with reports from as early as the 1830s attributing high rates of infectious disease to overcrowded, damp, and poorly ventilated housing. In New Zealand, crowding is strongly correlated with meningococcal disease, while overseas reports also demonstrate correlations with a number of infectious diseases and mental health issues.”

In 2001, 42.5% of children in the most deprived areas lived in crowded households, compared with just 2.7% of children in the most affluent areas. By 2006 – after five supposedly prosperous years – fewer children in the most affluent areas (2.3%) lived in crowded households. But more children in the most deprived areas – 43.6% – lived in crowded households.

Putting aside for the moment the idea that we should pick on poor Nicky because of her poor dog simply because we can (fish, inna barrel), let’s talk about TVNZ’s obligation to its viewers, TVNZ’s obligation to its charter and TVNZ’s obligation to its advertisers.

First, the viewers. Close Up is a news programme, a current affairs show dedicated, so the ads tell us, to getting behind the news, behind the stories and looking at the big picture issues. From the show’s own website:

With Close Up, it is the story that counts. The emphasis is on providing high-quality, reporter-driven, current affairs stories about New Zealanders and what matters to them.

Like missing chihuahuas.

Next, TVNZ has signed up to the government mandated Charter which demands a certain level of responsibility. To quote from TVNZ’s own website:

The TVNZ Charter provides a guide to our broadcasting responsibilities and makes it clear that TVNZ’s role is to reflect and explore what it means to be a New Zealander. To New Zealanders, this unique and special responsibility means quality television that educates, informs and entertains through local home grown programming and the best of international programming.

Finally, the advertisers. They pay top dollar for space in Close Up. It’s one of the highest rating shows in the country and it’s on five nights a week. They pay top dollar for two reasons: one, the viewership is high and two, they want to be associated with a certain brand.

I don’t believe Nicky Watson and Cricket delivers on any of those needs. I think TVNZ has failed in its duty on all three fronts and I am appalled at what can only be described as another nail in the coffin of journalism in New Zealand.

Not impressed.

(Hat tip to Mysterious Dave for alerting me to this travesty)

Miss Understood

December 2, 2007

Dear Ms Watson,

I understand you’re a little miffed that we’re not taking your heartfelt loss seriously and that poor wee Cricket could be lying under a bush, injured, starving, in need of a stiff latte and some botox.

Allow me to extend the olive branch (that’s a metaphor, by the way) (a metaphor is a thing that isn’t what it says it is but kind of represents that thing) (oh forget it – let’s just say I’m being nice) (even though I’m not, really) and wish you all the best in your hunt for your lost chiwawa (sic).

Although I must say the whole thing reminds me of the old joke about the woman putting up posters saying “Lost dog, reward offered” and the little boy wondering if the dog can read… Not sure why. 😉

but someone should really stop Nicky Watson from appearing on TV any more.

Not only is she rich, an ex-model and on every channel, but she’s also astonishingly stupid. Not, however, as stupid as the network exec who decided to spend more than six minutes in a 30 minute NEWS SHOW covering the loss of her pet dog Cricket.

That’s right, instead of foreign affairs, domestic politics, business or crime, TV One’s Close Up ran an entire segment on this woman’s fruitless search for her missing dog.

I’m not sure which is more appalling, her lack of ability to spell (she’s hunting for a small dog, breed (apparently) ‘chiwawa’ according to her poster), the decision to run a story on Cricket’s disappearance or this snippet which has been carefully included for your viewing pleasure. You be the judge.